The Avatar Mountains of Zhangjiajie

Another train, another long night journey on uncomfortable hard seats, we both grew so accustomed to. This time we were heading west to Zhangjiajie, known for its mountains that inspired the landscape of Avatar.

What looked like a countryside town on the map turned out to be yet another big city with more than a million people. By now we realised that all those dots on the map that we thought were small towns turned out to be big cities like Zhangjiajie. However Zhangjiajie was considered small for Chinese standards, but none the less had all the amenities one could wish for including cheap street food, bubble tea shops and the occasional night club.

I mention the night club because we actually went to one, after having gathered enough people from the hostel. Although I was very apprehensive at first to join Ronan and the other party crazy Swedish guys on the dance floor, I was swayed by his persistence and stepped on the pedestal that was the dance floor. Chinese clubs don’t really prioritise dancing that much based on that tiny dance floor, but still we had a great time especially after a generous Chinese guy decided to pay for all of our drinks and food. It must have been a cool thing to be surrounded by foreigners as that night club wasn’t the only place where we were treated by a generous Chinese patron.

Anyway what turned out to be a short trip to another mountain turned into nearly a week long stay in the city. The extra time allowed us to get a feel for the city and for me the needed confidence to take photos of the life in a city, that no one barely knows outside of China. In the end we did make it to the national park, but only for a night as the weather was getting pretty bleak with lots of fog and rain. That also meant that it was time to head further south into the warmer climates of Guilin.